India boycotts China's Belt and Road summit over sovereignty concerns

Last Updated: Sun, May 14, 2017 09:12 hrs
Modi and Xi

New Delhi: India skipped China's high-profile Belt and Road summit beginning on Sunday in view of sovereignty concerns related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship project of the initiative that is expected to play a dominant role in the two-day meet.

It was a tough call for India to take as China in the last few days has managed to rope in a number of western countries, including the US which on Friday agreed to send a top official after Washington clinched a lucrative trade deal.

Playing down India's absence at the meeting, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told the media on Friday that the Indian scholars would be attending the meeting.

The May 14-15 summit, which is expected to strengthen Xi's power base will be attended by 29 heads of state and government, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A number of other countries, including South Korea, France, Germany and UK, have deputed either ministerial or official delegations.

India's decision to skip the meeting came after a year of bilateral discord over China's stubborn opposition to India's entry into the NSG and a UN ban against Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammad leader Masood Azhar.

In the last few days, China has tried to assuage India's feelings by asserting that the commercial corridor will not have any impact on its stand that the Kashmir issue should be settled by India and Pakistan through dialogue.